Misophonia is a condition in which a person has an automatic, unpleasant internal reaction to specific sounds. This reaction can vary from frustration to panic and even rage, and can be quite an intense experience for the sufferer. Sounds that lead to this reaction are typically sounds from everyday life, such as others’ chewing food/gum, sniffling, or heavy breathing. People with misophonia will often refer to “triggers”; a trigger, for someone with misophonia, refers to any sounds that produces the intense internal reaction.
Many people who have misophonia experience a lot of shame before they come to understand that this is a condition experienced by many others and that they are not alone in their struggles. They can experience a lot of shame about both the intensity of the internal reaction and their response to those who have made a sound that is triggering. I was one of those folks.
How I learned about my misophonia:
I learned about misophonia about 5 years ago. I was talking with a colleague about my internal responses to certain noises and she noted that one of her clients had very similar experiences and told her that it was called misophonia. I remember the first time I googled misophonia and found a video on YouTube, in which a man with misophonia was talking about his internal experiences of it. After getting over the oddity of hearing this man talk about things I had never heard anyone else talk about, I began to feel so much more understood, by both myself and this larger community. As I met others with misophonia, I discovered a community who could provide the sort of support that was difficult to garner from those who did not have misophonia.
Discovery and recovery:
Since discovering that I have misophonia, I have engaged with the misophonia community on a few different levels. Given that I am a psychotherapist, I became interested in helping myself, and others with misophonia, learn to live with the condition and have relationships with others that thrive. I currently specialize in working with people with misophonia and am actively working on developing treatments that can help them to learn better ways to cope with the condition. I feel like being involved in the misophonia community and learning about the experiences of others has given me a lot of insight into the condition that I can share with others who are struggling. I feel grateful to have found this community and am thankful I get to pass on what I have learned to others.
Author: Shadee Hardy, LCSW
Shadee is a licensed clinical social worker at Portland Psychotherapy. Her specialties include misophonia, emotion regulation difficulties, body image, diversity, depression, and mindfulness.